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Filmmaking Tips for Composing a Frame

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The frame you chose designs the image the audience takes in. Without thinking of the frame first, a filmmaker is bound to design a shot lacking any emotional pull. Here are some tips into designing a frame that will intrigue any audience.

 

The main thing to consider when designing a frame is to think about what you are really trying to show the audience. (Maybe if you’re Thomas Edison you’re trying to show off your cat’s boxing ability)

 

Once you’ve chosen the object you’re planning to film, you now have to think of an interesting way to show it. For an example, I’ll show the legendary silent film, “Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat.”

 

 

The important thing about this film is –  when the Lumierre Brothers were thinking about how to capture this train on to film they could have just been shot the train in profile! If they did, it would’ve just entered through the right side of the screen and exited through the left.

 

However, the Lumierre Brothers chose capture the action a different way. The train looks like it’s coming right at you, and because it does, perspective is created and a horizon point is established. The clip also adds a sense of depth, the people arriving off the train act as the foreground for the shot.

 

You don’t have to look this far back to find films with great framing; they’re all around you. But what these early films passed on is the framing of a shot tells the audience what exactly they’re looking at.

 

And, any audience will understand what you’re trying to show them if your shot has depth and perspective.

 

Hope this was helpful!

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